By Logan Lowery
STARKVILLE – A day after watching its in-state rival rally to win with four runs in the bottom of the 10th inning, No. 19 Ole Miss made sure to not make the same mistake twice.
The Rebels scored the first 10 runs on Sunday’s rubber game against 17th-ranked Mississippi State and clinched the weekend series with a 12-2 victory in front of 10,371 at Dudy Noble Field.
“We just had to stick to our plan even though it turned out bad (Saturday) night,” said Ole Miss third baseman Austin Anderson. “We had to come back and be ready to go. The coaches kept stressing to be aggressive, go right after them and kind of punch them in the mouth early.”
The Rebels (29-9, 9-6) not only scored a season high in runs but also collected their highest hit total of the year with 20.
Anderson had a big hand in the Ole Miss offense, going 4-for-5 with two doubles and a pair of runs batted in.
Preston Overbey went 3-for-5 with three singles and three RBI while Auston Bousfield was 3-for-6 with three singles and drove in one. Braxton Lee and Will Jamison were each 2-for-4 while Will Allen was 2-for-5 with two RBI.
Sam Smith improved to 5-2 on the mound for the Rebels. Smith’s start lasted six innings, giving up two runs on six hits with three strikeouts and a pair of walks.
“Sam was as good today as he’s been all year,” said Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco. “He was just really spotting up his fastball, breaking ball and change-up. Defensively we were outstanding, turning a couple of double plays.
“Then our offense had 20 hits. Some great days by a lot of guys, and I’m really proud of the way we showed up today.”
Justin Massie picked up his first save of the season, tossing the final three shutout innings.
The Bulldogs (22-15, 7-8) scattered eight hits on the day led by Derrick Armstrong, who was 2-for-4 with two singles.
MSU left eight runners on base and committed three errors.
“Ole Miss played really well today and I give them all the credit in the world,” said MSU coach John Cohen. “I’m not sure we could’ve beaten a very good junior high baseball team today. We were absolutely uninspired in every phase of the game which is really disappointing.”
Ben Bracewell (2-3) lasted just 22⁄3 innings, allowing two runs on five hits with two walks and a strikeout. Brandon Woodruff surrendered seven runs and Lucas Laster allowed three in relief.
The Rebels return home to play LSU starting on Thursday, while State hosts Alcorn State on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.